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One of the few ways you can really see the untouched beauty of the Big Island is by flying over its lush forests, dense tree canopies, and glorious rushing waterfalls on a zipline course. You strap into a harness, get clipped to a cable and then zip, zip, zip your way through paradise. Most guide companies start you out easy on a slower, shorter line and by the end you graduate to faster, longer zips. It's an exhilarating adventure for all ages and has even been known to help some put aside their fear of heights (at least for a few minutes) to participate in the thrill ride. Check company credentials and specifics before you book to make sure your safety is their number one concern.
Big Island Eco Adventures II. This company knows ziplines—it built the first one on the Big Island. The three-hour tour takes you on eight ziplines and a 200-foot suspension bridge. You'll experience exhilarating crisscrossing thrills over the mountains and gulches of historic North Kohala, including the enormous Waianae Gulch. Along the way you get awesome views of the ocean, and, on clear days, all the way to Maui. If you are short on time, you can do the "quickie" Wiki Wiki Zip. 55-514 Hawi Rd., Hawi, HI, 96719. PHONE: 808/889-5111. thebigislandzipline.com.
Kohala Zipline. This company features nine zips, five suspension bridges, and a thrilling, above-the-canopy adventure in the forest. Designed for all ability levels, the Kohala Zipline offers plenty of safety equipment, including a dual line allowing for easy braking. You'll be hundreds of feet above the ground and feel like a pro by the time you reach the last line. Two certified guides accompany groups of no more than eight. The price includes transportation from your hotel in a six-wheel-drive, military-style vehicle. This course is especially fun for older kids. 54-3676 Akoni Pule Hwy., Kapaau, HI, 96755. PHONE: 808/331-3620 or 800/464-1993. www.kohalazipline.com.